Poor performance by "GD" during ZITADELLE

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Pascal. Kullmann.
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Re: Poor performance by "GD" during ZITADELLE

Post by Pascal. Kullmann. » 26 Mar 2021 22:27

Maybe I really should...

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Re: Poor performance by "GD" during ZITADELLE

Post by Cult Icon » 27 Mar 2021 19:57

Glantz, CSI Report No 11 Soviet Defensive Tactics at Kursk, July 1943 should help as I recall. Basically if the T-34 was deployed hull-down (with only its turret above ground) it was more of a pain for the Panzers to attack than if it came out in the open and tried to counterattack in groups. The Panthers fought a lot of hull down T-34s. The SS fought a lot of tanks that were counterattacking in the open.

And the Kursk book by Glantz/House should help.

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Re: Poor performance by "GD" during ZITADELLE

Post by Pascal. Kullmann. » 31 Mar 2021 23:18

The Kursk book by Glantz is on my buying list. Sadly I wasted a lot of money for those typical books on Kursk (Clark and Healy )which offer no real analysis.

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Re: Poor performance by "GD" during ZITADELLE

Post by stg 44 » 01 Apr 2021 16:00

Pascal. Kullmann. wrote:
31 Mar 2021 23:18
The Kursk book by Glantz is on my buying list. Sadly I wasted a lot of money for those typical books on Kursk (Clark and Healy )which offer no real analysis.
Be somewhat careful, I'm noticing he gets a lot wrong about the German side and overestimates Soviet abilities that actual combat performance did not bear out.

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Re: Poor performance by "GD" during ZITADELLE

Post by Pascal. Kullmann. » 02 Apr 2021 17:17

I finally got the Lawrence book. Even the abridged one is a stunner.

I realized that there was no difference in "performance" between 48. and II. SS Pzk. It was more about circumstances. But it seems that the 3. Pz Div was mishandled. Knobelsdorff is to blame. It was ordered to conduct the Pena crossing pretty much on its own (while at the same time being the weakest division in the 4. PzA). After that failed there wasn't much use for the division. Katukov did a wonderful job in turning the Pena bend into a meatgrinder. GD and 11. Pz Div. slashed through it (or at least through the first two defensive belts) albeit with heavy casualties.

The II. SS Pzk was confronted with a lot of counterattacks which were repulsed in return weakening the soviet armored forces in its way.
The only thing that struck me was the rather modest process of SS-TK at the Psel bend. From reading Zamulin I get the impression that the Psel defenses were rather weak and improvised. SS-TK was the strongest (armor wise) division in the II. SS Pzk but didn't get much further than hill 226,6. I suppose this was due to lacking flank support.

The Strachwitz issue: The more I read about the southern pincer the more I side with Strachwitz. Nipe calls his use of GD armor (including Pz.Rgt.39) unimaginative. But considering the restricted terrain over which GD had to advance, this use of armor (frontally slashing through the defensive belts) was the only possible option. Although, he tried to outflank enemy strongpoints whenever possible.

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Re: Poor performance by "GD" during ZITADELLE

Post by Pascal. Kullmann. » 04 Apr 2021 21:06

For anyone who is interested:
A comparison between Heer and SS during ZITADELLE by Roman Töppel. Some interesting stats.

https://www.academia.edu/15439503/Waffe ... pp_317_335

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Re: Poor performance by "GD" during ZITADELLE

Post by Pascal. Kullmann. » 06 Apr 2021 16:24

Has anyone read Blood, Steel and Myth by Nipe? I've only read his Kharkov and Ukraine books and although they were pretty informative he seems to have a very personal "relationship" to the SS divisions. Is his book recommendable?

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Re: Poor performance by "GD" during ZITADELLE

Post by Cult Icon » 06 Apr 2021 16:53

Pascal. Kullmann. wrote:
06 Apr 2021 16:24
Has anyone read Blood, Steel and Myth by Nipe? I've only read his Kharkov and Ukraine books and although they were pretty informative he seems to have a very personal "relationship" to the SS divisions. Is his book recommendable?
I read it, it's worth reading/having if you are interested in Citadel. He and his pal Yerger are/was hardcore with the SS and provide a lot of information about them. The book also covers the path of the Army units but with less detail.

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Re: Poor performance by "GD" during ZITADELLE

Post by Pascal. Kullmann. » 06 Apr 2021 16:59

Ok thanks for your answer. I think I'm gonna get the Glantz book first.

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Re: Poor performance by "GD" during ZITADELLE

Post by Pascal. Kullmann. » 04 Jun 2021 09:05

So, I came back to the Strachwitz issue and after reading Last Victory in Russia by Nipe my view changed (again... :roll:).

I now think that it was definitely Strachwitz who is to blame for the high losses (or: higher losses compared to 3., 11. PzDiv and also to the divisions of II. SS-Pzk) of GD PzRgt and PzRgt 39. It seems like Strachwitz wasn't really connected to the division and viewed his PzRgt as the sole battering ram of the offensive. He didn't really coorperate with the engineers and didn't care about flank protection. At Kharkov (March 1943) his PzRgt outpaced the infantry and couldn't move on. GD had no experience in coordinating a PzRgt (with a Tiger company) and her infantry regiments (They suffered extreme losses at Rzhev and suddenly had to manage a PzRgt without having time to properly incorporate the regiment). This would become painfully clear during Zitadelle (They not only had to manage one but two PzRgts) but improved during the "Dnepr battles" and especially in Romania 1944. There was also a dislike between Strachwitz and Hörnlein. Manteuffel and Langkeit proved to be a better "team".

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Re: Poor performance by "GD" during ZITADELLE

Post by Cult Icon » 04 Jun 2021 13:52

^
How about in relation to the casualties inflicted by this Pz regiment? I recall that it was the highest in the operation.

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Re: Poor performance by "GD" during ZITADELLE

Post by Pascal. Kullmann. » 04 Jun 2021 13:59

Do you mean the Kharkov operations or Zitadelle?

For Kharkov I think his regiment claimed the highest "kill" number for a single regiment. However, my point was that his leadership was rather narrow minded and that he seemingly ignored the needs of the other units of GD. Mind: These are only my observations. The truth could be totally different. But for me, kill claims are only one indicator. If the armored regiment starts to operate in a vacuum then there is something wrong with the leadership (either of the division or of subunits).

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Re: Poor performance by "GD" during ZITADELLE

Post by Cult Icon » 04 Jun 2021 14:15

Blood Steel Myth by Nipe also disfavors G.D. When I raised this with Lawrence he put up his own view, GD favorable. I read the Kharkov book ages ago so I don't recall it being unfavorable as well. I also have a tactics report (German) that is favorable to G.D at Kharkov. Spaeter and Jung are not disfavorable IIRC.

The idea of Pz KG's overrunning the infantry and then having to wait for them to catch up is a common practice in the Eastern campaign. Maybe the Graf was too much "Patton" and not enough Bradley.. :lol:

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Re: Poor performance by "GD" during ZITADELLE

Post by Pascal. Kullmann. » 04 Jun 2021 14:23

Cult Icon wrote:
04 Jun 2021 14:15
Blood Steel Myth by Nipe also disfavors G.D. When I raised this with Lawrence he put up his own view, GD favorable. I read the Kharkov book ages ago so I don't recall it being unfavorable as well. I also have a tactics report (German) that is favorable to G.D at Kharkov. Spaeter and Jung are not disfavorable IIRC.

The idea of Pz KG's overrunning the infantry and then having to wait for them to catch up is a common practice in the Eastern campaign. Maybe the Graf was too much "Patton" and not enough Bradley.. :lol:
Kharkov isn't that much of an issue. GD infantry was in combat for months and was burned out. It is a testament to their cohesion/moral that they were even able to follow up to a certain point. I am more focusing on Zitadelle. There, GD conduct of operations was quite clumsy (At least during the first three to four days). Of course the terrain was unfavorable and the commitment of both PzRgts in a rather small area was also not a good choice. Still, Strachwitz was the first one to go (Laucherts regiment followed) and messed up at the Berezowyje ravine. Over the following days there are several other examples of him trying to use the Panther-Regiment as a battering ram without much infantry - engineer coordination. I don't know how Langkeit would have used the armored assets. I guess that he would do better.

3. PzDiv (and to an extent also 11. PzDiv) was much smaller but executed their offensive more efficient. Though, 3. PzDivs commander became timidly and tried to preserve his division after the Pena crossing failed.

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Re: Poor performance by "GD" during ZITADELLE

Post by Cult Icon » 04 Jun 2021 14:54

There is...Willy Langkeit was considered a crack armored commander (Oak leaves Dec 1943) and was later assigned to G.D., commanding Panzer-Regiment G.D. successfully with Manteuffel, the crack commander of 7.Pz who was given the division. Their peak combat action was in likelihood the battle of Targu Frumos. He later commanded the G.D. spin off, PzG division "Kurmark". Overall this was a more successful partnership.

Him at the time of the battles for Targu Frumos:

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